The lawyers for the only Jerry Sandusky victim pursuing damages against Penn State in court are arguing against the university’s latest attempt to thwart the case.
The lawyers for Victim 6 filed court papers last week asking a federal judge to overrule Penn State on its motion to dismiss two counts in the civil suit. Victim 6, known as John Doe 6 in the lawsuit, is suing Penn State, The Second Mile charity and Sandusky for damages as a result of being forced to shower with the assistant coach in a campus locker room in 1998.
Penn State is seeking the dismissal of one count each of vicarious liability count and civil conspiracy, and the university’s lawyers’ efforts followed unsuccessful attempts to have the case delayed until the criminal proceedings against former athletic director Tim Curley and retired administrator Gary Schultz are over. Penn State’s lawyers challenged the merits of the claims, saying they were not specific enough.
The lawyers, led by Baltimore attorney Howard Janet, fired back in the court papers and told federal Judge Anita Brody that the allegations are specific enough to move forward to the discovery phase of the lawsuit.
The lawyers for Victim 6 are challenging Penn State’s position that the university is not liable for damages because the abuse was not part of Sandusky’s job as an assistant coach. They said case law supports their arguments that the university can be held liable.
As for the civil conspiracy count, the lawyers said Penn State officials gave Sandusky access to campus facilities where he abused children. The lawyers argued that their client suffered from “the fruits of an unlawful conspiracy” that was designed to conceal the shower incident and shield the university from negative public reaction.
“Permitting Sandusky to remain as a coach with unrestricted access enabled the abuse to continue and strongly supports an inference that inappropriate sexual relations were condoned by Penn State,” Janet wrote.
It is not clear if the lawyers for Victim 6 are in settlement talks with Penn State through the university’s hired mediator, Kenneth Feinberg. A Penn State spokesman previously indicated that Victim 6 turned down the university’s offers to participate in the negotiations and opted to move forward in court.
Feinberg said Tuesday that the university has not yet reached any settlements with the 28 men claiming they were abused by Sandusky.
Feinberg described the talks as “intensive and ongoing.”
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.